In Michelle Sagara's Sundered series, the premise is an age-old one: the followers of The Light Heart versus the followers of The Dark Heart.
Things took a twist about halfway through the first book, Into The Dark Lands; Erin of Elliath, the Sarillorn(leader of the Light forces)is captured by Stefanos, First of the Dark. Thus arises a strange romance, between Light and Dark. Erin's innate good tempers Stefanos's cruel nature, and she gets the name of the Lady of Mercy.
Stefanos decides that Erin cannot truly love him until the war is over, so her puts her into a mystical sleep until he can defeat the rest of the Light. Which he does.
When she is reawakened(in the second book, Children of The Blood), the Empire has just defeated the last traces of the Light, and all those bearing the Blood of the Light Heart are dead, except for Erin. And a slave boy called Darin, who managed to escape unnoticed and end up as Erin's servant. Erin(now called Sara)doesn't quite remember who she is at first, but she soon regains her memory.
Stefanos's compatriots mistrust his somewhat softened nature, and decide to destroy Erin/Sara; she escapes with Darin, Stefanos mistakenly believing her dead.
In the third book, Lady of Mercy, things take a decided twist. The earlier books focused on Erin and Stefanos, and on Light vs. Dark. As Erin and Darin flee to try, somehow, to fight the Dark, they meet up with two mysterious figures--one an apparently bumbling foppish brigand, and the other a mysterious and crotchety old man who apparently knows a type of magic that relies neither on the Light or the Dark. (Sidenote: as an interesting twist, the magic that can be called up by those of the Blood only affects others with the Blood, of either side...)
Robert, the brigand, proves eventually to be Renar, exiled prince of Marantine, the most recently-conquered province of the Empire, and the rest of the book turns into an effort to regain the throne his uncle usurped from him.
The book moves quite slowly at the beginning, when it's still in transition from one kind of book to the other, and there are few real surprises, but once it gets going it's enjoyable enough. I guess I will end up buying the next book in the series...
%A Sagara, Michelle
%T Lady of Mercy
%I Ballantine del Rey
%C New York
%D June 1993
%G ISBN 0-345-37948-9
%P 339 pp.
%S The Sundered
%V Book 3
%O Paperback, US$4.99, Can$5.99
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